PalmOne Inc. Monday unveiled a new version of its popular Treo that adds a removable battery and short-range wireless technology to the device, which combines a mobile phone and digital organizer.
The Treo 650, the follow-up to the Treo 600, is a pocket-sized machine that enable professionals to use a single device to handle several tasks, such as surf the Internet, send and receive email, make calls and check daily schedules.
PalmOne said prices for the device would depend on deals made with wireless phone carriers. Telecommunications provider Sprint Monday said it would be the first carrier for the Treo 650, and that the device will be available in November for about $600.
Analysts say that PalmOne's existing agreements with carriers such as Sprint, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile may help get the new devices to store shelves faster.
PalmOne said the device will work on most mobile phone networks and will be available later this year in the United States, with worldwide rollout to follow in 2005.
Treo competes with other combination devices like Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry, and high-end devices by handset makers such as Nokia.
IDC analyst Alex Slawsby said the improvements in the Treo 650, including a built-in camera, brings the device up to date with features that shoppers expect in high-end phones with computer-like features. It may struggle, however, in finding an audience with the millions of consumers who still only use a basic mobile phone.
"These are fairly evolutional improvements, but the device is going to sell to the same Treo 600 audience," he said. The challenge is to attract the broader base of people who only were using a camera phone or a pager."
Shares of PalmOne fell 53 cents, or about $1.8 percent, to $27.67 in moderate trade on Nasdaq.